12 Days of Keeping Christmas

Days 7-12


For the next six days I will be featuring each individual story, and hopefully other content,  in Keeping Christmas: Volume 1. What better than a collection of stories that take place in castles during Christmas? I think these will be a great way to start the burr-months. 

Grab a mug of something hot and delicious and curl up somewhere comfy. Your literary chariots await to take you on a journey from an early twentieth-century castle overlooking the Mississippi all the way back to the Holy Land at the time of Jesus’ birth. These six novellas, all set in castles real and fictional, celebrate the heart and joy of Christmas.


Day 10

An Irish Christmas Heart 

by Jennifer Sienes 

Will she choose love or an arranged marriage? In the midst of post-famine unrest, Eleanor Blake, daughter of an English nobleman, is thrown into a maelstrom of emotions. How will she escape the duty for which she was born and the confines of the ill-fated Menlo Castle of Galway, Ireland to find her true love?


About the Author

Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education but discovered life experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance, and writing—and puts it all together in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies—two in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California-born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

About Jennifer’s Castle

The only direction I was given when I agreed to this project was that it had to be a Christmas novella with a castle setting. When I think of castles, I think of stories in a different time and place. Because my husband is half Irish, I immediately searched for castles in the beautiful island of Ireland. A few clicks of the mouse, and I came across a story about Menlo Castle in Galway—also known as Blake Castle because the Blake family (English nobility) had lived there since 1539 (or somewhere near that time).

A little more research, and I discovered that Blake Castle burned in 1910, although there are still remains of it there today. The only fatality was Edward Blake’s daughter, Eleanor, who happened to have a disability. From there, I used creative license to fill in the rest. Is it historically accurate? Nope. So, while I call it historical romance, it’s more fiction than not.

If you were to Google the other lead character, Samuel Orton, you will discover he was a real person back in that time period as well. I won’t tell you what he was known for, because it would be a spoiler-alert, but he is also more imagination than factual. That’s why it’s called fiction!